Planes, trains and automobiles – without the huge assortment of transportation options that we now use every single day, it’s hard to imagine how the modern world would function. From keeping to traders in business to helping us visit family and friends, the evolution of transport has been hugely significant, so with that in mind we’re going to take a look at it’s history.
Most of the earliest methods of transportation were small wheeled vehicles that could be pulled along by animals such as donkeys and horses – these were probably in use as early as the 5th millennium BC, and carried us through all the way up until the 17th Century.
That’s when Ferdinand Verbiest invented his steam powered vehicle, the worlds first ‘auto-mobile’. Fast forward a little further, to 1873, and you start to see functional steam-powered vehicles carrying groups of passengers and actually populating the roads.
Approaching the Modern Age
Around the same time that we were transitioning from horse-drawn vehicles to steam powered ones, the invention of the railway took the country – and the world – by storm. William James is credited as ‘The Father of the Railway’ for his development, in the early 1800s, of many designs which would later become reality, and in 1828 the railway began to be seen as a popular method of travelling, but also of distributing goods across the country en masse.
During the 19th Century the world also saw the invention of steam ships and, as the railways had helped to close the distance between different parts of the country these vessels helped to close the distance between different parts of the world. These new inventions became templates for the modern vehicles that we use today.
Into the 21st Century
Eventually, of course, these steam powered crafts were replaced by motor vehicles, and transportation options became far more efficient and safe – meaning that the options we have available today are incredibly effective not just on a commercial level, but also an industrial one. That said, each part of the process has been essential for creating our modern transport links – so next time you’re jumping in a taxi or waiting for the bus, spare a thought for the inventors and engineers who made it all possible.